by Gabby Pedriani
Aaron Larner used to know nothing about fashion. Nothing, that is, until he began working on his new project, Style Shuffler, a mobile app aiming to make in-store shopping a more interactive and fulfilling experience.
“I’ve learned literally everything I know about fashion,” admits the Madison-based entrepreneur while speaking about the painstaking process of developing the innovative technology.
The Style Shuffler app works by allowing shoppers to use their smartphones to scan any item in a store. The app instantaneously provides shoppers with recommendations for complementary clothing items nearby. Essentially, Style Shuffler is a mobile outfit-maker.
Larner’s inspiration came after months of listening to customers and clothing retailers discuss their biggest complaints and concerns about the in-store shopping experience.
“I think the success we’ve had so far has been because we’ve been able to adapt very quickly to the feedback we get,” Larner says.
Over the past six months, Style Shuffler has slowly evolved into something entirely unique, and it is now about to face the ultimate test.
Aaron and his business partner, Pitt Fagan, are working closely with The GAP on State Street on a pilot model of the new mobile technology. The goal is to increase the store’s revenue by bringing in more customers to use the app. The team has been working hard to ensure that the technology lives up to its claims.
Each item in the store has been scanned into the Style Shuffler’s system, categorized based on its physical characteristics and given rules for how it can be worn in different outfits. The app even includes the capability to automatically recognize color.
Perhaps the most promising quality of the new Style Shuffler app is its promise to attend to users’ personal style. It will customize its recommendations based on one’s individual taste – a difficult but necessary task for any fashion-based technology.
Those confident in their own sartorial choices will be able to use the app to provide more adventurous and inspirational recommendations, while those less confident can benefit from its savvy as well.
“If we’re doing a good job, the people who want to be told what to wear will eventually develop their own unique sense of style,” Larner says. “If you identify as a confident and adventuresome shopper, then we really need to treat you differently.”
As a result of this project, Larner has become more confident in his own fashion choices, and he wants to help his app’s users feel the same.
“The goal of Style Shuffler is to first help people develop confidence, and then give them new inspiration once they know what they like,” Larner says.
This Friday, May 4, The GAP on State Street will give shoppers the chance to try out the Style Shuffler mobile app. Larner is encouraging anyone with comments about the app to get in touch with him. He is counting on this experience to better the technology for future users.
Though Larner focuses primarily on the programming aspects of Style Shuffler, he has begun to view fashion in an entirely new light.
“Now I see that talking to someone about their sense of style and asking them about why they chose to wear something can be a great way of getting to know them better,” he says, and for this he has Style Shuffler to thank.